Monday, December 5, 2011

Author Larry Kahn’s Tour And Kindle Contest


larry-kahn-12I’m delighted Thoughts in Progress is a stop on author Larry Kahn’s three-week blog tour and Kindle Giveaway Contest to celebrate the launch of his second novel, KING OF PAINE.

Here’s a synopsis of the book: King of Paine is a sexy, fast-paced suspense novel filled with characters who grapple with a range of intriguing end-of-life issues while everything they care about is at stake. The story follows two investigations, Special Agent Frank Paine's pursuit of a stalker committing a series of kinky Internet crimes and a reporter tracking the disappearance of wealthy senior citizens across the nation. Both paths lead to a hidden enclave where a brilliant biochemist harbors a deadly secret. Somebody is going to die there, and it may be Frank Paine's soulmate. Or him.

Larry has joined us to talk about “Who Are You Chatting With?: The Dangers of Anonymous Internet Communications.”  Please see the end of the post for the Kindle contest guidelines.

Ever since my two sons began using AOL's instant messaging service in the late-1990s, I've been intrigued by the potential for good and evil inherent in anonymous Internet chat, a device featured prominently in both of my novels. Like every parent, I feared my kids could become vulnerable to predators if allowed to roam cyberspace unattended, a concern substantiated many times over by the prodigious workload of the FBI's Innocent Images Task Force. 

Curious Reader:  The danger of online child predators is well-documented, but should adults be worried, too? (eyes wide) 

Larry: To quote Sarah Palin, "You betcha." (Big, politically-savvy wink) 

Many online service providers host chat rooms, allowing participants to converse with everyone in a virtual "room" or privately using an instant messaging application. Typically, anyone can acquire a free screen name without providing identifying information, possibly in violation of terms of service (I know, shocking, right?). Many users engage in harmless banter about hobbies or seek mutual support for shared setbacks. Others rely on anonymity to engage in frank discussions or dramatizations about sex. (Based on my research, these encounters might more fairly be characterized as raunchy, even depraved in some cases.) 

Curious Reader: Did you develop a virtual rash from this research? (LOL) 

DCF 1.0Larry: (Rolls eyes) Everyone's a comedian in cyberspace. Although the medium does attract a sleaze factor, the services I checked out all have means to exclude offensive participants from ever contacting you again. To be fair, I also found many polite, interesting people simply seeking an outlet to express hidden desires.   

Many of the characters in my suspense novel, KING OF PAINE, are connected by their mutual interest in kinky online roleplay. Here's a passage that describes how my protagonist, Frank Paine, explains the appeal to Jeronimo Reyes, an FBI cyber agent who detects a suspicious connection between Frank and their new case: 
  
[Frank] explained how the anonymity of the RealTime chat rooms presented a unique opportunity to explore women’s minds without the distraction of celebrity but never sparked his passion until he discovered the darker side of online chat. Hidden among the shallow and uncouth dimwits who riddled cyberspace, he had stumbled upon an elite group of zealous, intelligent devotees of the BDSM lifestyle who shared his own repressed impulses.
 
In Hollywood, every aspect of his life was dictated by his job. Besides the obvious scripting of lines on the set, he needed to exercise and watch his weight religiously to maintain a consistent appearance from day to day. He dreaded the constant public scrutiny of every aspect of his life, never being “off,” never fully in control of his mind or body. But in his domination scenes, The King of Paine controlled all. He was able to imagine new highs he couldn’t experience in real life. 

While Frank had abandoned this world--online and off--three years earlier, an anonymous stalker who sets up innocent victims online is threatening to reveal Frank's secret past. The stalker's techniques, and the FBI response, present a chilling warning to chat room users. 

Curious Reader:  Are you a hacker?
 
Larry: No, I just researched threats particular to instant messaging to add credibility to my story. However, procedures adopted by hackers, online providers, security software and law enforcement are constantly evolving, and the information provided here and in KING OF PAINE should not be viewed as state of the art. Be cautious. 

To state the obvious, you never know who you're really chatting with online. Nobody is as they represent, and that may be part of the allure. Participants lie about their age, physical attributes, even their gender. Most are harmless, viewing chat more as a place to experiment with alternate selves than as a dating service.
For some, though, what starts out as an innocent game ends tragically. 20/20 recently featured a story about an online love triangle in which two "young" men vied for the affection of a pretty girl in a different state. The one guy who represented himself accurately was murdered by a middle-aged married man; the vixen they fought over turned out to be a frumpy woman pretending to be her own daughter. 

Other encounters are initiated with malevolent intent. Predators can disguise their digital presence by routing transmissions via proxy servers, remote service providers that make Internet communications anonymous. Most innocent users don't take that precaution, and a security-savvy imposter may be able to upload a virus or Trojan horse onto your computer, potentially accessing identifying information and other private data. The cyber agents in KING OF PAINE elaborate on these pitfalls in the course of their investigation. 

Speaking of cyber agents, your chat partner may be one. The FBI and other local law enforcement officials pose online as vulnerable targets in order to flush out predators, a tactic used with dramatic effect in KING OF PAINE

Curious Reader: So who am I chatting with now?
 
The King Of Paine: You have no idea (evil, maniacal laugh)
 
Larry, thanks for guest blogging today. You make an excellent point about not really knowing who we are chatting with. It’s a little scary to say the least.

First a bit about Larry before the contest details. Larry, the author of THE JINX and KING OF PAINE, successfully negotiated the fast-paced world of domestic and international mergers and acquisitions for 20 years, first at a major New York law firm and then at an Atlanta Fortune 500 company. He penned THE JINX while on sabbatical in 1999 and is now devoted to writing fiction full time. Many of his more cynical legal clients and associates have accused him of writing fiction full time for many years. He resides in Atlanta with his family.

Larry developed a keen interest in social issues while attending Yale Law School, an idealistic spirit that continues to spice his novels. The vision of a colorblind America in his political thriller THE JINX led to endorsements by leaders of the ACLU, National Urban League and Artists Against Racism. And as the Baby Boomer generation scatters about the country, KING OF PAINE envisions a renewed emphasis on family and tradition in which Americans create for their venerable elders, and ultimately themselves, a peaceful place to die.

For more on Larry and his writing, visit his website, stop by his Facebook fan page, visit his Goodreads author page, or find him on Twitter.

Now for the Kindle giveaway contest details. The grand prize is a Kindle Touch 3G, and three Amazon gift cards will also be awarded. The contest is open to all. The drawing for the grand prize will be limited to residents of the US and Canada, but there are no restrictions on eligibility for other prizes. All entries must be submitted on the official entry form by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on December 21, 2011.

Each day from December 1-21, KING OF PAINE will be featured on one of the world's greatest book blogs, with reviews, book giveaways, interviews and guest posts penned by the author. Prizes will be awarded in the Kindle Giveaway Contest on December 22nd, including a new Kindle Touch 3G. No purchase is necessary to enter, but readers can increase their chances of winning by helping Larry promote KING OF PAINE. Contest details can be found on his website.

Selection of Winners: On December 22, the author will use an online random number generator to select prize winners from among all valid entries. Prior to selection, each participant will be assigned one chance simply for entering the contest plus additional chances for helping to promote KING OF PAINE as follows:
* BUY a copy of KING OF PAINE -- 25 chances for each copy.
* REVIEW KING OF PAINE and post it on any popular book website, your blog, or social media — 10 chances for each site (up to 10 sites).
* BLOG about KING OF PAINE (including hosting a guest post or interview) and/or this contest and link to Larry's website — 25 chances.
* SHARE the contest announcement (or Larry's King of Paine post) on Facebook and Twitter -- 10 chances each.
* ASK a question on Larry's Goodreads Q&A -- 10 chances.
* COMMENT about KING OF PAINE on Larry's website or a blog on the King of Paine Blog Tour — 5 chances for each blog (one comment per blog).
* JOIN Larry's website using Google Friend Connect -- 5 chances.
* SUBSCRIBE to Larry's newsletter -- 5 chances.
* LIKE/FOLLOW Larry on social media — 5 chances each.

KING OF PAINE is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

You can follow the remainder of Larry’s tour at the following sites:
Dec. 6 - Boekie’s Book Reviews: Review & Author Interview 
Dec. 6 - Owl Tell You About It: Review 
Dec. 7 - Owl Tell You About It: Guest Post "Researching the Psychology of BDSM" 
Dec. 8 - All the days of: Book Giveaway & Guest Post "Crafting Intricate Plots: My Writing Process" 
Dec. 9 - The Top Shelf: Review & Author Interview 
Dec. 10 - Darlene's Book Nook: Book Giveaway & Guest Post "Rooting for a Flawed Protagonist" 
Dec. 11 - Larry Kahn: Interview with Frank Paine, "Getting Inside The Mind Of A Madman" 
Dec. 12 - Full Moon Bites: Book Giveaway & Author of the Week Interview 
Dec. 13 - The Book Diva's Reads: Review & Guest Post "Buried Treasures: Treats for the Watchful Reader" 
Dec. 14 - Alive On The Shelves: Guest Post "When Eye Candy Fights Back: Adding Depth To a Love Interest" 
Dec. 15 - The Enchanted Book: Review & Guest Post "What Can You Expect From A 99-Cent E-Book? " 
Dec. 16 - Opinions of  a Wolf: Book Giveaway & Review 
Dec. 17 - Black Diamond's Book Reviews: Book Giveaway & Review 
Dec. 18 - Returns here to Thoughts in Progress: Review 
Dec. 19 - CMash Loves to Read: Book Giveaway & Guest Post "My Inspiration For King of Paine" 
Dec. 20 -  Goodreads: Live Q&A With Larry Kahn 
Dec. 21 - Purple Jelly Bean Chair Reviews: Review, Author Interview & Book 

What are your thoughts on who you’re talking to in cyberspace? Have you ever had a conversation with someone that made you think they weren’t really who and what they said they were? Thanks so much for stopping by today. 

9 comments:

  1. Mason - Thanks for hosting Larry.

    Larry - It is really, really scary isn't it what cyberspace is really like. It allows for a whole alternate reality, and it can be scary when that alternate reality touches our real lives...

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  2. That's so true, Margot. And for some of the people who delve into this world, the line between their real and fictional lives can blur. That 50-something married man who killed really thought he was fighting for the love of a desirable young woman, while the older woman playing as her daughter probably was just exploring an alternate self for kicks.

    Mason - Thank you so much for hosting me today. You always put so much care into your page layouts!

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  3. Larry, thanks again for stopping by on your tour and for the kind words about my blog. Your post should make us all stop and give more thought to who we are chatting with and especially when children are involved. Wishing you much success on your tour.

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  4. I have become an avid fan of Larry Kahn by just reading KING OF PAINE alone! I have read plenty of FBI "Special Agent" novels that pretty much mimic each other while KING OF PAINE takes readers down so many different and exciting paths.

    I found the enthusiasm of the two main protagonists ("Frank" and "Roger") to be exhilarating as they each lunge into their unrelenting quests. I was thrown into an investigation and part of a mystery at the same time! THAT very thrill and mystery of it all (while incorporating thought-provoking issues) IS what makes this novel stand alone.

    I loved both "Frank" and "Roger" in their own ways as well as the secondary characters. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out more about the characters and the missions each of them are on!

    Kahn's style of writing and prose (text) made it comfortable to read (understatement). This novel is on my "to read again" shelf and I can't wait to read his previous novel THE JINX soon!

    Lori in Arizona

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  5. Some days I'm not sure who I am much less who anyone else is. Especially this time of year.

    Seriously, it's wise to be cautious. Online as well as in real life.

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  6. I am at 33% reading this book on my Kindle and I am loving the book. I am going to lose sleep over trying to finish this book. This is a wonderful book. The author has an amazing talent with words.

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  7. The Bunny -- it only get better!!!

    Lori in Arizona

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  8. I think most of the conversations that I had would've been in high school. I was all over chat rooms at that point. I have a few scary stories myself. lol The only thing I can say is you never know who you're talking to. Even if you've met the person on the other end and they seem like they're who they say they are. 95% of the time they're not. In one way or another.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.